I was laying on a massage table feeling baffled, confused and embarrassed.
This was 10 years ago. I was an expat in Budapest at the time, living an unhealthy lifestyle, and had decided to get my skinny body to a personal trainer.
Initially, it all went smoothly. We discussed diet change plans, fitness goals, preferred exercises, and even my numerous bad habits. The next session involved assessing my ‘muscles.’ Chickens lips were never explicitly mentioned, though at the time it was close.
This trainer was trained in Muscle Activation Therapy.
He explained the premise. Certain muscles dominate, and so others become weak – especially at the point they join your bones. By activating the weaker ones, you get an all-round improvement in strength, lowering your risk of strains and injuries.
So far so good.
While not entirely sure my scrawny frame warranted it, having my muscles assessed would at least be a starting point.
It was during this examination that the trainer asked me if I had heard of the ‘zero-point field’. I answered ‘sure’, asking whether this was something to do with quantum mechanics or physics?
He followed by asking if I was open to these ideas?
Yes, I am. As a curious person I love new angles on anything. On top of this, I enjoy the process of finding out how people look at the world differently to me.
Just how this linked to activating my long-lost muscles was puzzling.
Not for long.
After prodding and poking my right shoulder, he stepped back, pointing his finger and thumb at my muscle there, and humming loudly.
This was what he meant by using the zero-point field to unlock my muscles?
I cringed; a mix of ‘what the fuck’ and ‘get me out of here’ washed over me.
Worst of all, I cringed three more times as different muscles were ‘unlocked’ this way. I know, I should have stopped it. Innate politeness, and the baffled shock of the moment paralyzed me.
Now we get to the title of this blog post.
As weird as the experience was, I should have spoken up after the event. A simple e-mail or text would have worked. Instead, I simply stopped returning calls, texts or emails. They fizzled out after a few weeks.
I’m relieved to say that I never saw the trainer at expat community social events after that.
He probably thought I’m just another flake, just another unhealthy guy who went back to sugar and alcohol.
Even a decade later, I still get flashback cringes.
The second part of this blog post deals with my (still unresolved) inner struggles in relating to the kind of people most likely to offer fitness / exercise advice.
Buff Fitness Advice is Not Relatable – So What is?
Holding two opposing beliefs simultaneously is one of my favourite things. It is second only to learning something new, which completely upends a long-held assumption for me.
When it comes to fitness advice, these opposing beliefs come into play. These apply to the buff, 10% body fat guys who live and breathe the healthy lifestyle:
- Admiration: I admire anyone dedicated enough to get that ripped and acknowledge that they have gone the extra mile to live a healthy lifestyle and work hard to get their results. I also realise their knowledge about fitness, training and diet is better than mine.
- Unrelatability: Yet it is super-difficult to relate to this type of person. What is more, I don’t see how they could relate to anyone outside of their circle of dedicated fitness fanatics. Their advice is for other people like them, not for those of us not 100% dedicated to the gym life.
I’m not blaming anyone that has gone all-in for this unrelatability.
The detachment is more subtle than that.
Think a freelancer or small-scale entrepreneur reading sage business advice from a billionaire. Or someone learning to swim copying Michael Phelps’ morning routine. The info is correct, just unrelatable.
This leaves me with a dilemma:
If Not Buffed Fitness Fanatics, Then Who?
Here are my criteria for the ‘perfectly relatable’ person in the field of healthy ageing:
- Old enough to have faced life’s pressures and challenges (and still looking great!).
- Demonstrated changing their mind, logical thinking, with a scientific and enquiring mind a bonus.
- No enthusiastic advocating for a single diet, type of exercise, or specific supplements / lifestyles as the panacea for our problems. An awareness that the ideal solutions must fit the individual.
- An acknowledgement that real life can’t be completely restrictive (thinking cheat days, with wine, sugar or carbs).
- Someone that is continually learning, trying new strategies and open to new information (especially when backed by science).
Nobody I can think of currently ticks all those boxes. Maybe nobody will.
While the ideal individual may never exist, someone close would be a better fit to me than a ripped gym fanatic that focuses on a single diet / lifestyle / supplement combo.
Got any thoughts on who would be a great match? Join me over on Twitter – @markAWT
More Blog Posts;
- Ingrained Health Beliefs (thoughts on changing people’s minds)
- Longevity Perspective Flips on my Journey so far
- Meeting my Future Self Part 1